This is the image many of us get when we think of spider control. Big, scary, man-eating, blood-sucking beasts that wait for you to let your guard down, so they can pounce! Right?
Well, wrong. Spiders are an extremely beneficial arthropod, that help us get rid of many nuisance pests. If we didn’t have spiders hanging out, we would have a lot more “bugs” in our lives. Most spiders are absolutely harmless to people and cause us no grief. There are a few that can be dangerous, and you can read more about these on our Spiders Page.
For those of you that can’t stand the thought of a single spider invading your space, here are a few tips:
Clean Up Your Space.
That’s right. One of the best things you can do is clean up. Reduce the clutter around your home. Get rid of those books and newspapers that haven’t been touched in years. Have a yard sale and sell off all of the tools that haven’t been touched since the Redskins won the Super Bowl. Donate all of the kids clothes and toys they never use anymore (at least the ones that haven’t already been destroyed. Just throw those away). Are you starting to get the idea?
These things all provide the perfect harborage for our eight-legged friends, so clean up is key to spider control. They love to hide and hang out under and behind things. That also includes the furniture that hasn’t been moved since the day your father-in-law helped you set it up. Now, I know it’s a lot of work, but if you hate spiders that much, then move the couch, bed, and dressers and clean up under and behind where they sit.
Knock Those Webs Down!
I will spend most of my time on clean up, because it is almost always the most important part of any pest control program, including spider control. Clean up includes getting out the broom and sweeping down every spider web you can see, and even the ones you don’t. Run the broom along all base boards and ceiling corners. If you have one of those big spiders that likes to build his web right outside the front door, or where you park your car, then knock those webs down too. Those guys are called Orb Weaver spiders and we see them more in the fall. Here’s a picture of one to help you relate.
Spiders also love to build webs along the eves of your roof line. They also build around windows on the inside and outside of the house. Why do we remove as many webs as possible? Well, it not only helps your house look nicer, but it also disturbs the spider enough that they often will move locations, or at least stop inviting their friends to come hang out together. The web material is very “expensive” for them to produce biologically. It is also very time consuming to build, so if someone is being a jerk and knocking down the house they worked so hard to construct, then they want to move to a nicer neighborhood, with a lower crime rate. (I hear destroying spider webs is a felony offense in the arthropod world).
We talked about cleaning up inside. We talked about removing spider webs. Now, let’s talk about the wood pile against your house. This is prime habitat for black widows – and other spiders. Move that wood away from the house! Wood piles are also a great habitat for all kinds of other bugs, which makes it an even better place for spiders to hang out.
Wood piles are one of the most obvious things to move away from the house, but let’s not forget the other stuff. How about that wheel barrow? That big hollow shell gives spiders and bugs a great place to hid. Old tarps, pots, planters, lumber, empty trash cans, and buckets can all be great places for spiders to stay hidden, waiting for their next meal.
I Want to “Spray” my House…
One of my pet peeves is when someone asks, “What do y’all charge to ‘spray’ a house?” What they really mean is, “What does it cost to have your knowledge and experience to take care of my pest issues?” While it’s true, we do use liquid products that are put into compressed air sprayers, that is a fraction of what is needed for a successful spider control program. Hopefully, by reading this article, you can see there are far more things to consider besides chemical treatments. However, the right chemical, applied to the right areas, can be an extremely helpful addition to any pest control strategy.
If your house has a crawl space, start there. I would recommend using an appropriately labeled insecticidal dust and properly treat the crawl space with it. This will eliminate a multitude of pests, including spiders. We talk a lot about “appropriately labeled pesticides.” I can’t get into that too much here, but you can always check out the EPA’s site for pesticide labels.
Treat the foundation, as well as around doors and windows, with an appropriately labeled liquid insecticide (yes, you can “spray” your house). Don’t forget to treat the eve and soffit areas as well. Use a small amount of liquid – appropriately labeled, of course – for the inside of the house. Only treat corners of base boards or behind furniture, where spiders are likely to hide.
Last, you may consider treating the attic space, as well. I recommend not over-doing the chemical application. Many people think, “If a little is good, a lot must be great!” Wrong. There are plenty of studies that show a low volume of chemical is often more effective than a heavy dose. Check out this article I just read, “Small Changes, Big Savings.”
Sometimes you see things you never thought you’d see, like this picture we took of a black widow spider eating a small snake.
Sometimes you see things that you just don’t know what it is. When you do, you can call or email us, and we’d be happy to help any way we can. If you don’t want to call us because you think we’re going to sell you something, then maybe just call your local extension office. Ours is through Clemson University, and I just gave you the link.
Whoever you reach out to, get all the detail you can about where you found it, what the environmental conditions were, etc. Take pictures. Good pictures. Not blurry or far away. Get specimens. Get several if you can. If you’re too scared to touch them, it’s better to have a squished spider to look at, than no spider at all. It’s hard to guess what it was, when the description is “big brown spider.” There are approximately 3,000 species in North America, and approximately 35,000 worldwide. So, it kinda helps to have a specimen, or some really, really good pictures. Otherwise, we’re just guessing…
That wraps up this post for now. Be on the look-out for spiders as the weather cools down, and call us if we can help implement a good spider control program for your home.